No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How Do You Know What They're Thinking?

There’s a big challenge every leader faces: how do you know what people are thinking?

The problem is, some of your team have ideas you need to hear. Others have objections you don’t know about. You think you have it all because you have meetings. You discuss things. You solicit input.

In any group, there are vocal people and silent people. There are introverts and extroverts. There are articulate people and people with simple vocabularies. And the chances are, what you think you know about your team’s opinions came from the vocal, articulate extroverts.

I once hear then-CNN Anchor Soledad O’Brien say, “True leadership starts in the conversation. You have to get the truth on the table. You have to give a voice to everyone.”

That’s your job. At some point, quiet the vocal people and ask the silent ones. Calm the extroverts and draw out the introverts. Give the folks who aren’t fluent time and space to form their thoughts.

Until everyone speaks, you don’t know everything you need to know.

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